Weather and administration, and lunch out!

We’ve had a couple of unsettled days – Wednesday night was quite stormy, it rained a lot on Thursday and Friday, with strong winds.. It’s really damp and humid outside – we’ve had a real soaking, but not like the south of England, by all accounts… amber alerts, puddles that stop car engines when driven through (on one of Mum’s outings!)…..

We attempted to start the registration process for the car on Thursday, but it was an abortive trip to Domfront.  We needed a proof of residency and our rental agreement wasn’t enough.  The only thing we can do is see the Marie in St Siméon to apply for an ‘attestation’ certificate to say that we are living in St Simeon….  Once we have this, it opens up all sorts of possibilities – car registration, house insurance, banking, etc. etc.  Unfortunately, we arrived in France during the holiday season and the Marie is on holiday, not back till Tuesday, so we’ll just have to wait….

Despite the weather, and lack of an attestation certificate, we decided to pop into Gorron on Friday to see if we could open up a French bank account.  What an experience!  We were able to make an appointment for the same day with an advisor (we’ve never been able to do that in England) and arranged to come back at 4pm….

To kill some time, we drove towards Mayenne and found a ‘Le Relais’ (like a road-side café) where we had delicious steak and frites!  These are great places to stop for a bite to eat – all the French lorry drivers use them, as well as locals and people like us.  They usually offer a fixed menu at low cost – the starter buffet is something to see – a full cabinet of salads, meats and sauces.

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Back in Gorron, we met with François Roussel, who was our advisor and helped us open up a current account and a savings account.  Everything was conducted in English (mostly for my benefit!) but he was so helpful and answered all our questions.  He also gave us his direct contact details, phone number and email address so that we could contact him whenever we needed, in case we needed any help with banking transactions – he could do transfers on our behalf if we asked him via email, for example if there was a problem with on-line banking – how refreshing is that??!  He even said that he understood the difficulties of moving permanently to France so we could always call or email him on general issues, and he would do what he could to help us.  Amazing!  It was a bit like in the past when we had bank managers, only François was probably more helpful and pragmatic…..  We meet him again on Friday to talk about car and house insurance:0)  Oh, and the attestation certificate?  As soon as we have this, we need to show it to him as his superiors will most likely ask about it at some point!  What service!!

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Our Branch of Crédit Mutuel, Gorron!

On the same trip out, we managed to book the Jaguar in for its MOT (‘Contrôle Technique’) for Tuesday afternoon…. I’ve got everything crossed for that – it’s an old diesel that’s done a lot of miles and belches out black smoke when you first put your foot down hard to accelerate……

I also popped into the vets to see if they could advise about Colin – since he went missing, he has developed some bald patches above his eyes and on top of his head and ears.  Again, despite the late hour, they gave us an appointment in half an hour’s time because it was a bank holiday the next day and they wouldn’t be open again till Monday.  So it was a mad dash home and hoping that Colin hadn’t done his usual disappearing act!  Luck was with us and I was back at the vet for 6pm.  What can I say? The vet was extremely thorough, looking at samples under the microscope, searching with infra-red for parasites but couldn’t find anything obvious – it’s possibly an allergy.  So, Colin is now on tablets for a few days and is to have cream applied to his bald patches…. he’s also been given some hypoallergenic food, to see if it’s his diet that is affecting him….. Pauvre pussy cat!

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We’re now ‘cooking on gas’ (or logs at least)

I almost forgot, in between rain showers and downpours, Charles had managed to source some logs for us, just in the village, so we had some wood for the fire….  The wet weather had made the cottage quite damp downstairs, so we were keen to warm it up a bit and dry it out.  We now have a large stack of logs under cover and a few in the cottage at the ready.

So, yesterday morning, we had a lazy start – it was bank holiday in France, so none of the shops were open.  Instead we stayed in, lit the fire and watched a film!

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How cosy are we??!

The St Fraimbault Festival

Late afternoon, we headed over to St Fraimbault for their annual fair.  All the streets were lined with stalls, selling craft items and produce.

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There were demonstrations of lace-making, weaving, horse-shoeing, butter making and much more!  Traditional games were set out for people to play, while vintage cars were on display in the square, before driving through the streets….

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Outside the Marie, a dance floor had been set up for the traditional dancers and musicians…

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The dancing was lovely but popular – I had to stand on a wall to take pictures!

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All around, people were having fun, chatting and generally taking part….

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Further along the village, we came across the old washing place, where there was an on-going demonstration – the washer women were soaked!!

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On the playing fields, we found more stalls and activities had been set up, along with steam-powered engines, traction engines, old agricultural machinery, as well as ploughing with cattle, threshing machines powered by donkeys, suckling piglets and oxen pulling a cart of corn….

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That donkey really didn’t want to go round in circles to thresh the corn!!  He managed to stop 3 other donkeys in their tracks, now that’s determination…..

Back in the streets there were numerous organs playing with the operators singing along and at one point there was a procession of them with accordion players….

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We stopped for a welcome cup of tea with Amanda and Charles, in one of her gites in the village – the one we’d stayed in – then we all headed down towards the lake where there was a big BBQ, open marquees and another dance area for the evening entertainment.  It was so lovely to see so many people taking part, of all ages….

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Sadly, although we stayed till 9pm, we missed the dancing, which by all accounts was like line dancing but French!  We heard the band starting up as we walked back to the car – c’est la vie!!  Perhaps next year we’ll go again…

It was a lovely evening, especially considering the weather we had yesterday – just a really nice end to the day….. ♥

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